It’s Sunday evening and I’m on my way from Halifax to Heathrow in readiness to fly out to Vienna in the morning for a press trip to see what Siemens have been up to ahead of the UITP conference. We’ll be seeing the latest cutting-edge transport technology, but the start of my trip is on the antithesis of all that – an old BR built ‘Pacer’ eking out the last months of its life after decades of service acro2ss Yorkshire…
Having bounced our way sedately and peacefully to Leeds (the train was very quiet as only a handful of passengers were aboard) I’m now on something a little more modern, but also soon to be displaced. I caught LNERs 19:46 Leeds – Kings Cross which is worked by a Mk4 set of coaches pushed by a Class 90 (90026) hired in from DB.
The joys of TDM control mean the set judders like it’s got St Vitus dance. The effect is magnified by the fact I’m in the coach nearest the loco, thank God I’m only on this to Doncaster as it’s taken me 10 mins to type this ‘cos my fingers are all over the place and my ‘spull chucker’ is working overtime!
I’m on my way again after a pause at a rather deserted Doncaster. Much of the station had shut up shop and from what I could see the town wasn’t far behind. The platforms were patrolled by the British Transport Police, who clearly expected some form of fracas, although the place was quiet when I passed through. The only thing that was open was a branch of ‘Subway’, which was doing steady business.
The train I’m on now is LNER’s 18:00 Edinburgh to Kings Cross. I took a stroll from the coach I’m sitting in (C) to the buffet and did a head count. It’s good! I don’t know what the ticket yield is, but judging by the number of folk on the train, it’s certainly more then paying its way.
I’m heading for Heathrow on an old friend – the Piccadilly line. There are so many memories attached to it – apart ftom Heathrow. Back in the very early 1980s I used to use it to get to Manor House in North London where an old friend from Southport lived. Mary and I had a fling for a whole, so I used to hitch-hike from Southport to London at weekends to see her. Mary had rented a room with a very orthodox Jewish family, this meant I had to make sure I turned up before sunset, otherwise the door wouldn’t be answered & Mary would have to throw her keys out’ve the window! A decade later, when I was living in London with Lynn in Crouch End, the Piccadilly was one of our local lines. We’d have to get the bus to Finsbury Park to connect with the Picc or the Vic, but they took us to so many places, and to do many memories. Now, Dawn and I use it to head North from Heathrow- although the journey nowadays is a bit further north than Crouch End!
Looking around this train I realise what I miss with living in West Yorkshire. There’s 40 plus folk in this car and I’m probably the oldest one! It’s a young multi-racial crowd, a world away from some of the ‘old’ bits in West Yorkshire who’re still re- fighting the second world war.